Production of Rose's Heavenly Cakes Part 2
Apr 26, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose
Phase 5 April 2008 Photography
This is always my favorite moment in book production. It must be akin to a playwright getting to see her play enacted with a full cast of the characters she has envisioned. It's scary and thrilling at the same time.
This was the first session of what will probably be two, possibly three. But I doubt if we will repeat 10 days in a row of about 6 cakes a day. This was my first experience with professional digital food photography and what a fascinating process. Food stylist Liz Duffy brought two assistants and loads of ingredients and equipment.
A Small Sampling of the Groceries
Roy Finamore, a long time friend, who was one of the senior editors of Clarkson Potter is now a prop stylist. He contributed infinitely more than inspired props--he majorly participated in the over-all look of the photos, carefully considering how they should appear in relation to where they would be placed in the book.
Photographer Ben Fink repeatedly turned out such astonishingly beautiful photographs every day was a new surprise and joy. I brought my knitting and only succeeded in doing one row in 10 days. Every time I turned away from the set I regretted it as I found I needed to be present to ensure that the cakes reflected the recipes in the book. Liz is the most meticulous and devoted food stylist plus a former pastry chef but producing 6 or more photo worthy cakes a day was a challenge I myself could not have managed and I was grateful that my recipes were in good enough shape that there were no errors or time wasted due to mistakes. Still, we ended up with what was supposed to be an ice cream sandwich as an ice cream cake. It was so beautiful I rewrote the recipe to include both.
I learned several great tricks from Liz and her long time assistant Jan which I will include in the book. One was how to make the top of a cake baked in a fluted tube pan look as a perfect and without air pockets as much as possible. They filled the pans about one inch full with batter and then used the back of a spoon with a side to side motion to press the batter into the grooves of the pan before adding the remainder of the batter. Priceless! And what was poly grip denture cream doing on the baking cart? Turns out it's the perfect food safe glue for everything from fallen cake crumbs to broken pie crust.
Another exciting learning experience was when the pears in the almond cream pear cake ended up at the top of the cake instead of sinking toward the bottom where they were supposed to land. The entire cake was a brown color that it had never been before. After much Sherlock Holmesing I discovered that the almond cream, when mixed just a little too long, breaks down and infiltrates through the cake batter turning it a deeper color and changing the texture so that the pears are suspended at the top!
Next session is projected to be the last two weeks of July. I'll be leaving my knitting at home! And now on to the copy editing of the 760 page manuscript which is why you won't be hearing much from me for the next few weeks!
(More photos on the full post page)
Assistant Jeanine's Brilliant Emergency Angel Food Cake Cooling Device